The SCG will retain the traditional New Year’s Test after marathon talks between Cricket Australia and state governments after Sydney’s Northern Beaches COVID-19 outbreak.
Cricket Australia gained approval from the Indian Cricket Board after securing exemptions which will allow the third Test to remain in Sydney and the fourth Test to remain in Brisbane.
Broadcast staff have been given exemptions to cross the border from NSW to Queensland in between Tests, but players will be forced to comply with stricter quarantine regulations.
Interim Cricket Australia CEO, Nick Hockley, said the decision was made after health advice from the NSW government.
“We have met regularly over the past week to assess the unfolding public health situation in Sydney and gauge its impact on border restrictions around the country,” he said in a CA statement.
“To date, we have been able to deliver a safe and successful summer thanks to our detailed biosecurity protocols and the amazing work of so many great people behind the scenes.
“To that end, we have made the decision to keep the New Year’s Test at the SCG, which has a wonderful recent history of hosting the Pink Test and Jane McGrath Day on the third day of play.
“We are confident that both this match, and the fourth Test in Brisbane, will play out in a safe and successful manner and thus round out what has been a magnificent men’s international program this summer.
“We are very grateful to the New South Wales and Queensland governments for their willingness to work with us to deliver the series as planned in a manner that places the safety and wellbeing of the players, officials, staff and the wider community as its top priority.
“In response to the public health situation in NSW and the requirements of the Queensland government, CA will put in place appropriate biosecurity measures and we thank all players, staff and broadcasters for their cooperation to play the matches safely.
“We especially thank the BCCI for their continued support of the original schedule, as our respective teams compete in the most enthralling series.”
The decision to retain the Test at the SCG means that Jane McGrath Day will take place as usual, and Australian cricket great Glenn McGrath said a new “digital initiative” was in the works.
“We are thrilled the Vodafone Pink Test will still take place at the SCG. It is the home of the Pink Test and the spirit and support of the crowd at the SCG have become a huge part of the Pink Test atmosphere over the past 12 years,” he said in the CA Statement.
“In the coming days, we will be announcing our new exciting digital initiative for this year’s Pink Test, which will mean people can get involved, no matter whether they are in the stadium or watching from home.
“The Vodafone Pink Test is one of our key fundraising events of the year, so we hope people across Australia will help keep the ‘pink’ in the Pink Test and show their support by visiting pinktest.com.au to find out how they can get involved.”
The third Test is set to get underway on January 7, before the series finale which will take place at the Gabba from January 15.